Our Top Boutique Luxury Sailings in the Med and Baltic

For travelers seeking a luxurious, boutique voyage—traveling with 350 or fewer guests—in the Mediterranean or Baltic region, Luxury Travel Advisor has identified this sampling of appealing options for 2024 and 2025.

Mystery in the Med

If past loyal Windstar Cruises clients love a good mystery, we’d suggest they check out Windstar Cruises’ first-ever, eight-day “President’s Mystery Cruise” round-trip from Athens, Greece, on April 19, 2025. What enticing port calls are scheduled? Well, that’s a surprise, but many are maiden calls, Windstar says.

What’s definitely known is that guests will sail on the 312-passenger, all-suite Star Legend. But otherwise, all ports of call will be kept “a secret” from guests until 24 hours ahead of arrival at each destination. Once that occurs, guests will learn about shore excursion options.

Guests will also sail with Christopher Prelog, the line’s president, as this will double as the company’s annual President’s Cruise. That’s always popular with loyal past guests, plus it provides a good chance for all guests to mix and mingle with Windstar’s leadership. If it makes guests feel better, even Prelog himself won’t be privy to the itinerary until he’s aboard.

Star Legend
WINDSTAR’s mysterycruise will be operated by the 312-passenger, all-suiteStar Legend. (Windstar Cruises)

Interestingly, this mystery cruise idea was inspired by one of Windstar’s recent “Tahiti & the Tuamotu Islands” sailings on Star Breeze. Only two days into that 11-day itinerary, Tropical Cyclone Nat disrupted the ship’s planned route. So, the onboard team had to scramble to develop a completely new itinerary to avoid the horrid weather. But many guests loved the anticipation and sense of adventure—sparking the boutique luxury line’s decision to offer this 2025 “President’s Mystery Cruise.”

Lovely Sailing Ship

On the new small-ship front, Sea Cloud Cruises recently introduced its new, 136-passenger Sea Cloud Spirit, the third sailing vessel in its fleet. Now cruising the Mediterranean, this lovely new build will welcome Chef Michael Collantes as a guest chef on board the weeklong October 5, 2024, voyage from Nice, France, to Barcelona, Spain. He’s head chef and owner of Soseki, a one-Michelin-star modern omakase restaurant in Winter Park, FL, as well as the chef and owner of Sushi Saint, Central Florida’s first handroll bar experience, which is soon opening a New York outpost. While aboard, guests can expect lively cooking demonstrations, curated menus and culinary storytelling.

Beyond the embarkation/debarkation ports, this seven-night voyage will take guests to Nice and Marseille, France; Calvi and Bastia, Corsica; Sanremo, Italy and Palamos, Spain. Plus, there will be a day “under full sails.” Crew members—assisted by those guests who desire to assist—will “hand hoist” 28 total sails encompassing 44,000 square feet of canvas. The whole sail-hoisting process takes about an hour to accomplish.

Luxury Travel Advisor was briefly aboard the new Sea Cloud Spirit earlier this year and found it easy to conjure up imagery of the majestic wooden sailing ships that transported explorers to the New World centuries ago (but with all the latest technical “bells and whistles” from a maritime, propulsion and sustainability standpoint). Sea Cloud also operates the lovely 64-passenger Sea Cloud, originally built for Marjorie Merriweather Post and her then-husband E. F. Hutton in the 1930s, and a 94-passenger Sea Cloud II, built in 2001.

Sea Cloud Spirit
Sea Cloud Spirit, here and below, is the third ship to join the Sea Cloud Cruises fleet. The 136-passenger vessel is currently cruising the Mediterranean. (Sea Cloud)

Smithsonian Enrichment

Boutique luxury line Ponant has revealed the 2025 lineup of voyages curated in collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys. One new option is the 14-day “Lisbon to the Canary Islands by Sea: Spain, Morocco, and Atlantic Isles,” on the 184-passenger Le Bellot. Departing October 26, 2025, this voyage will take guests from Portugal’s Algarve coast to the valleys of Madeira and to diverse destinations (La Palma, Tenerife, Lanzarote and the lesser-visited La Gomera) in the Canary Islands.

Along the route, visits are also planned to UNESCO World Heritage Sites including those in Seville, Spain, and Rabat, Morocco. Other highlights will include medina visits and a tour of Madeira’s Botanical Gardens. Most notably, luxury travelers will hear insights from Allen Fromherz, a professor of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history, the onboard Smithsonian Journey expert.

Among other new voyages operated in partnership with Smithsonian Journeys is an eight-day “Cruising the Mediterranean: Sicily, Sardinia, and Mallorca” voyage, departing October 3, 2025. The 264-passenger, L’Austral will sail from Valletta, Malta, to Tarragona, Spain.

Sea Cloud Spirit
Sea Coud Spirit (Sea Cloud Cruises)

Northern Europe

Now, those who enjoy a luxury cruise coupled with an expedition experience have more to savor in Northern Europe in 2025. Ultra-luxury Silversea recently unveiled more than 10 new expedition voyages on the 274-passenger Silver Wind, a diverse vessel that is polar-class but has the upscale spaces that luxury travelers love. These include a robust spa, multiple dining options, and sumptuous suites.

Among the new Northern Europe voyages that we’d check out is a 12-day voyage from Portsmouth, U.K., to Dublin, Ireland, departing May 19, 2025. This robust voyage travels to 19 ports of call in two countries. Guests will spend significant time exploring the Emerald Isle (both Ireland and Northern Ireland, U.K.) as well as Scotland and its remote western isles.

Silversea recently unveiled more than 10 new expedition voyages on the 274-passenger Silver Wind. (SIlversea)

An additional bonus is the chance for luxury cruisers to explore three U.K. isles southwest from Portsmouth. They include Sark Island in the Channel Isles, plus Tresco and St. Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly. For the latter remote experience, Silversea will offer a moderate-intensity hiking shore excursion. St. Mary’s, home to only 1,600 residents, is famed as an eco-treasure trove with seals and puffins. Two unique facets? It’s home to England’s most southwestern vineyards and for ghostly-looking shipwrecks strewn along its shores.

Epicurean Expeditions

For guests seeking gastronomic delights, Atlas Ocean Voyages has unveiled its 2024 “Epicurean Expeditions” season in the Mediterranean, featuring many guest chefs and vintners. Among those coming aboard Atlas for the first time is Julieta Davey, affectionately known as Mama Cacao.

Davey’s passion for Costa Rica’s cacao has created a chocolate brand that focuses on both culinary mastery and sustainability. She’ll sail aboard World Voyager’s seven-night Bilbao, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal sailing, departing on October 12, 2024, as well as several other voyages this year.

On other Epicurean Expeditions, Atlas will welcome back some past guest-favorite chefs or vintners including Anna Wilamowska, pastry chef and chocolatier. On September 23, 2024, she’ll sail aboard the 196-passenger World Traveller’s “Spanish Treasures” voyage from Palma da Mallorca, Spain, to Malaga, Spain.

In addition, Chef Bobby Marcotte, creator of award-winning restaurants, brings his culinary creativity and expertise aboard World Navigator’s September 20, 2024, and September 30, 2024, voyages.

Boutique luxury cruise line SeaDream Yacht Club has added more voyages to an already extensive lineup of Greek Isles cruises in 2025. One highlight is a 14-night in-depth yachting adventure. It’s a combination of two new “Yachting the Greek Isles” voyages, one departing June 29, 2025, the other departing July 6, 2025. If both voyages are booked, travelers will explore 13 different Greek ports while sailing on the 112-passenger SeaDream I.

SeaDream Yacht Club
SeaDream Yacht Club, here and below, has added more voyages to its extensive lineup of Greek Isles cruises in 2025.  (SeaDream Yacht Club)

Citing strong demand as the reason for adding more Greek Isles voyages, SeaDream says that this Mediterranean region has consistently ranked among the most popular destinations for SeaDream’s guests. So, several new ports of call have been added, and the voyage also includes signature SeaDream experiences such as an overnight stay in Mykonos or a very late-night departure from Santorini.

The first seven-night voyage departs Piraeus (Athens), Greece, on June 29, 2025. It includes Volos with an optional land adventure to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Meteora. In addition, the itinerary includes Delos, Mykonos (overnight), and a late-night visit to Skopelos of “Mama Mia” movie fame.

The second weeklong voyage on July 6, 2025, will also explore lesser-known destinations including pretty Folegandros and the historic port of Symi (unavailable to larger ships). Additionally, Sea Dream I will make an evening visit to Santorini, plus call at Ios Island, Milos and Kythnos where the yacht will anchor directly off the iconic Kolona beach.

SeaDream Yacht Club

Scenic’s two Discovery Yachts are best known for polar and exotic destination adventures but we particularly like the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse’s immersive 13-day ”Northern Legends” journey, from Dublin, Ireland, to Reykjavik, Iceland, departing on June 23, 2025. The ship will call at Portrush, Northern Ireland, U.K.; Oban, Portree and Stornoway in Scotland, U.K.; Torshaven and Miovagur, Faroe Islands; and five destinations in Iceland.

Adventurous guests can explore via Zodiacs, kayaks, helicopters and each ship’s custom-built submarine, Scenic Neptune. But back aboard, they’ll discover sumptuous luxury. For example, each suite includes personalized butler service. And to soothe tired muscles after a long day ashore, guests can rejuvenate in the 5,920-square-foot Senses Spa, gym, yoga and Pilates studio.

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